India continues to be one of the fastest growing major telecom markets in the world. It is also one of the largest. Sweeping reforms introduced by successive Indian governments over the last decade have dramatically changed the nature of telecommunications in the country. The mobile sector has grown from around 10 million subscribers in 2002 to pass the 900 million mark in early 2012. Events in 2012 were to see a correction in the market, but overall growth was continuing. GSM technology continued to dominate the mobile market in India; while CDMA was clings to a declining market share of around 13%. Growth in the mobile industry was expected to continue at least into the medium term, boosted by the allocation of 3G licences in 2010 and the large scale roll-out of networks in 2011. On the other hand the impact of the unfolding scandal over the awarding of 2G licences in 2008 was looking grim for the mobile industry. Court decisions and the subsequent responses of the regulators are key to the eventual outcome. Re-auctioning of the 2G mobile licences was set for late in 2012. The fixed-line market, which had grown strongly for a while, began experiencing zero and negative growth. In terms of online access, there has been a fresh effort to promote broadband internet throughout the country; after a period in which broadband development languished, there was new hope for a serious expansion phase in this segment of the market. The impact of mobile broadband had also started to filter through the market. In the meantime, the government has been continuing to push to complete the restructuring of the telecommunications regulatory regime. The opening up of the market to full scale competition has been dramatic; however, major challenges remain.
This report presents the key measures and takes a general look at India’s telecom market together with the direction it is heading. It also considers the evolving regulatory landscape.
Overall growth in India’s telecom market remains strong; mobile market going through a period of uncertainty; the 2G corruption scandal, as well as being embarrassing for the government, has caused problems for all stakeholders in the industry; the potential damage to foreign investment in India is just one issue causing concern; broadband internet continues to see strong growth; broadband services have reached 60% of all internet services; wireless broadband systems have been helping increase the penetration of broadband across the market place.